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From: Alan Clinton <>
Subject: Re: The Gaelic Isles
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 08:30:44 GMT

Further to what Paul has said, and I'm in full agreement, the naming
of "Great Britain" has nothing to do with "strong, powerful" etc.

It evolved from the need for the Roman invaders of Britain (55 B.C. -
449 A.D) to distinguish between Britain and a part of France now called
Brittaney. As one was larger than the other they simply prefixed the
bigger one with "Great" as in "Greater".


I, like Paul, have no issue with our "piece of turf" being referred to
as being "part of the British Isles". It's only a geographical term
similar to "North America".

Alan in Holland.

In article <727W4.27129$>,
"Paul Gorry" <> wrote:
> I think PA's is a good response to Edward's pretty juvenile desire to
> the name of where I live. I didn't see Patrick Knight's initial
posting yet
> (as I haven't been looking in since the beginning of the month) but I
> no problem in referring to the British Isles (as they have been known
> yonks) as such. What's the problem? I never refer to the larger of
the two
> main islands as "Britain" but as "Great Britain". That's what it's
> It has nothing to do with being GREAT (i.e. strong, powerful, etc.)
> simply "large". I'm Irish and Ireland is part of the British Isles,
> are part of Europe. I can call myself Irish and European, so I don't
> anything odd about some of my fellow Irishmen calling themselves
> British and European. "British" does not equal "English". So many
> seem to equate the two. Apart from anything, this excludes the Scots
> the Welsh.
> I've noticed in recent years that the term "the British Isles" has
> to come back into currency with Irish people (or should I say Irish
> living in the Republic of Ireland). Very slowly, but I see it
> That to me is a sign of maturity in our nation. Moaning about the
> accepted name for a geographic area on the grounds of blinkered
> is something that belongs to the Europe of the nineteenth century.
> I hope I haven't offended anyone's sensitive nationalism (too much!).
> Paul Gorry
> P A MagLOCHLAINN wrote in message <>...
> >Dear Edward,
> >
> >Thank you for your comment about the name of these islands.
> >
> >I don't think that we Gaels could claim ALL of the islands - we must
in all
> >fairness recognise the Anglo-Saxon contribution to their history,
not to
> >mention that of our fellow-Celts, the Welsh, Cornish and Cumbrians
(none of
> >whom are Gaels).
> >
> >The late John Biggs-Davidson MP, floated the suggestion that we
should name
> >them IONA (being the initial letters of the phrase "Islands Of the
> >Atlantic"). Unfortunately, he never explained whether the
Icelanders and
> >Newfoundlanders had agreed to this or not... (:-)
> >
> >I have always found it perfectly easy to refer to Great Britain and
> >Ireland - or the other way round, if you prefer it. The confusion
> >when people say "Britain" - because Britain (as any Irish speaker
will tell
> >you) actually means Wales. That is why, when Scotland joined the
> >England-Wales political unit, King James VI & I christened his
eldest son
> >and heir Arthur - and his new country Great Britain.
> <snip>

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